Comparison Begs the Question: Why Boulder?

Comparison Begs the Question: Why Boulder?

A number of comments by readers on our story about the trip by 60 of Tallahassee’s political and business leaders to Boulder Colorado raised several relevant questions.

For example, Terry Ryan commented:

Can you provide a side by side comparison of the two cities from the Harvard report’s statistical info (e.g. Percentage of single parent households, school graduation rates, etc)?

Listed below is a table with a comparison of various demographic factors for Boulder County and Leon County

Notable differences appear in racial diversity, average wages, types of jobs and job growth over the last ten years.

Boulder County population is 14.7% minority (Hispanic & African American) while Leon County’s population is 36.9% minority. Bolder County’s population is 1.0% African American compared to 31.0% in Leon County

The average wage per job in Boulder County is $58,000, approximately 50% higher than the average wage per job of $40,288 in Leon County.

A notable difference also appeared in the types of jobs in each community. Just over 83% of Boulder County’s jobs are in the private sector while just over 64% of Leon County’s jobs are in the private sector.

Also, manufacturing jobs make of 10% of Boulder’s jobs while only 1% of Leon County jobs fall in that category.

And finally, job growth in Boulder over the 10 years from 2003-2013 grew at a 9.3% rate. Leon County actually lost jobs during this period.

 Boulder County, COLeon County, FL
African American1.0%31.0%
Per Capita Per. Income$54,968$38,345
Poverty Rate14.2%21.2%
Single Parent Households
Married with Children20.4%14.8%
Bachelor's Deg. or More58.3%44,2%
Private Employ.137,766 (83.7%)89,425(64.9%)
Average Wage Per Job$58,002$40,288
Manufacturing Jobs10.4%1.1%
Job Growth 2003-13
13,975 (9.3%)-3,701(-2,6%)

26 Responses to "Comparison Begs the Question: Why Boulder?"

  1. What is wrong with this picture is that they are only highlighting that cities are not coming here to see how we do things. I guess when the stress of not being able to address the CDA public safety issues and failures and the high crime rate they need a junket on our dime to relax.

    Again, next stop Amelia Island and Pina Coladas at the water buffalo party…on our dime again.

  2. Has it been reported that those other than county/city/elected officials had their trips paid for? I haven’t seen where the developers and entrepreneurs had their way paid…many of whom have the means to pay for this trip.

    As far as downtown urbanization, placemaking, and alternative transportation systems I think we need to be investigating other city models that work successfully. Tallahassee is to that point where we need to make serious considerations regarding how city infrastructure will operate in the future to handle population growth and the necessary denser environments.

    My biggest complaint is that no design professionals were asked to join.

    1. This is a stupid trip. There are plenty of issues that need resolving before this community can really move forward. You never build on a faulty foundation. That being stated, private sector paid for their own trips. Our tax dollars paid for City and County officials and staff.

  3. If they think Gaines can be Pearl St, they are just dumb.It is way too late for Pearl. Single parents, education level (although Tallahassee is higher than the norm,and yes, the racial mix, all affect the numbers. Are the commissioners going to change anything to make manufacturing more appealing? I doubt it.

    Must be fun to travel on someone else’s money!

  4. The biggest difference between Boulder and here, is that Boulder is part of a multi million population area.

  5. I understand visiting a city to glean some ideas for growth and development. But why not visit one that is more similar? One that is the state capital and has university system, that also has strong presence of other industry? Say Austin, TX instead or possibly Madison Wisconsin. But no matter what they do there are going to be those that disagree with the decision.

    1. They already visited Austin recently and Madison a while back. Scott Walker was not governor then and Wisconsin state workers were paid far better than their Florida counterparts. The delegation noted that both the University of Wisconsin and the state government created a robust local economy with a healthy private sector (also with strong unions and the increased purchasing power that allows workers to stimulate the economy.)
      Alas, it looks like we left our plantation economy with them. Why would they want to be like Florida?
      I wouldn’t mind these trips if they would do something to improve the local economy–for everyone, not just the well-connected, but it looks more like a nice paid vacation and a lot of fluffy talk but zero action.

  6. Ah…our voters here resemble what voted for obama…stupid; and we get the same kind of people, thieves and liars…..does anyone expect to see something different?

  7. These are also the same people who travel to Amelia Island every year for the Chamber’s “Community Conference”.

  8. Maybe the delegation will choose to travel to Silicon Valley area in California next year? Just because our elected officials and their business friends would like to become the venture technology and venture capital of the “south”?

    “Stay tuned”…

  9. The commissioners say they are not sure where they can get the funds to hire more police officers, but there is no shortage of funds to send all of them to Boulder to learn about infrastructure and sidewalks?

    I thought there is a serious deficit with the budget?

  10. Apparently with the disconnect of our Mayor and other city leaders we are once again left holding the bag – or shall we say the bag minus even more money. It seems to me that to pick a “sister city” or a comparison city to learn from, it should be on an “apples to apples” comparison basis. The idea that we foot the bill for 60 city leaders and “business leaders” (who picks those – I would love to know?) to visit a city that does not statistically fit our demographics both socially or economically is a waste of time and resources. Did the folks in Boulder bother spending their tax money visiting Tallahassee?

  11. I tend to agree w/rob. Everyone has their opinion on the importance of what was brought back, but I like the fact that they got out of the Tallahassee bubble to experience things that work other places. This is making something out of nothing…again.

  12. Nancy Miller took away from he trip the approach to building infrastructure, such as sidewalks and bike ways. WOW! That’s a great use of our tax dollars.

  13. who said anything bout a vacation? havent they been in meetings w/boulder officials to try and get ideas for best practices to bring back and IMPROVE tallahassee?

    1. A junket for the Chamber and private businesses is barely newsworthy. But a junket to visit a city remarkably dissimilar to ours (and oh by the way, an enviable tourist destination to boot)? Well, how better to say, “Let them eat cake!”

  14. % of people in Tallahassee wanting to visit Boulder – well, at least 60 people… wonder if that number would have been as large if it were Detroit

  15. According to the U.S. census, the percent of people in Tallahassee below the poverty level for the period 2009-2013 is 30.2.

    The comparable poverty statistic for Boulder during the same time period is 14.2.

    Thus, the percent of people living in poverty in Tallahassee is more than twice that of Boulder.

  16. Colorado is a beautiful place and it doesn’t bother me that 60 folks from Tallahassee would want to visit there. But I get a sneaky and suspicious feeling that they didn’t pay for this vacation with their own money. I’m betting that the taxpayers of Leon County or Tallahassee picked up the tab. Am I right?

      1. No, that is not completely correct. Taxpayers paid for any City or County official (elected or not). Any member of the Chamber or local business paid their own way.

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